Currently Browsing: Bechdel-Wallace List

Márta Mészáros’s ‘Adoption’ from 1975 defies society’s expectations at the time of the when—and why—a woman should want to be a mother

Hungarian director and screenwriter Márta Mészáros’s best-known film from 1975, Adoption, stars Katalin Berek as a middle-aged single woman who has realized that she wants a child. Through her own observations and friendships with neglected children, she becomes more and more convinced that it is the right choice for her at this point in her life. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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Wasp depicts a family strained by circumstance yet bonded in love

A single mother in Dartford, England struggles emotionally and financially to support three young girls and a baby boy as she reconnects with an old flame from high school. Andrea Arnold’s Oscar-winning short film Wasp (2003) is an at-times charming and all-around painfully honest portrayal of a family strained by circumstance yet strongly bonded in love. (RMM: 5/5)

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Mira Nair has us experience life on the streets through the eyes of children in ‘Salaam! Bombay’ 

Director Mira Nair directed and co-wrote the feature film Salaam! Bombay in 1988. Starring Shafiq Syed, Nair creates a documentary-like fiction piece that is a heart-wrenching depiction of the lives of children in the slums of Bombay. KIZJ: (4/5)

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Elaine May’s feature Mikey and Nicky is a telling portrait of a friendship between two men tainted by society’s expectations

Mikey and Nicky is Oscar-nominee Elaine May’s third feature from 1976. The film is a dark mystery laced with comedy and social commentary—all dressed up in a gangster setting. Starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk, May’s piece is an intimate observation of a wavering friendship between two men over a long, long night in Philadelphia. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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Kathleen Collins makes us hold up a mirror to ourselves and question the role of art in life with 1982 film Losing Ground

Kathleen Collins wrote and directed Losing Ground (1982)—a film about a middle-class Black couple whose marriage is shaken by the lovers’ diverging paths towards self-discovery. This refreshing film explores the human condition of what makes us feel ecstasy in life. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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Swedish director Mai Zetterling takes us into the lives and societal roles of three pregnant women in Loving Couples (1964)

Mai Zetterling directed and co-wrote her debut feature Loving Couples (1964)—a Swedish drama based on one of Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s seven-part Swedish feminism literary series, The Misses von Pahlen. Zetterling focuses on three women and their romantic relationships, their connection to motherhood, and the solidarity of their gender. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

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Strangers in Good Company is a uniquely-female docufiction experience

It’s remarkable to have a film with no men present that is entirely focused on women simply existing together. But more importantly, the way that it deals with aging and mortality is unique.

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Mineworkers and their families fight joyfully in Harlan County, USA

Full of conversations from the center of action at organizers’ meetings and on picket lines, the documentary gives a vivid picture of the mineworkers’ lives and dreams. (AEL: 4.5/5)

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Director Nicole Holofcener looks beyond the lovely and amazing parts of life

TCM will feature films from 12 decades—and representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  Director and writer Nicole Holofcener’s movie Lovely and Amazing (2001) explores essential topics circulating in the media today––the never-ending fight for equality. From racial stereotypes to gender expectations, this film poignantly expresses […]

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Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman sparks conversation on subtle racism perpetuated in assigned symbols

The Watermelon Woman focuses on a queer black novice filmmaker’s quest for clarity on the life of a fictitious Black actress of the 30s and 40s who was known for her roles as the archetypical “mammy”. Director Cheryl Dunye deftly yet subtly comments on racism in its stealthiest forms in this funny and conversation-sparking film. (RMM: 4/5)

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Leontine Sagan’s German cult classic Mädchen in Uniform hails a ground-breaking all-female cast—filmed in 1931

In 1931, Leontine Sagan directed the feature-length German film Mädchen in Uniform (Maidens in Uniform). The German-language cult classic follows “Manuela von Meinhardis” (Hertha Thiele), a young girl who is enrolled at a boarding school for girls, as she adjusts to life in a strict, all-female environment. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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The monotony of modern life in Je Tu Il Elle

A modern classic, Chantal Ackerman’s debut Je Tu Il Elle is both an ambiguous and precise film that deals with the cycles of desire, deprivation, and gratification that come with living in the modern world. (FEA: 5/5).

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The importance of the female gaze in Radioactive and The Dancer

A much-needed phenomenon occurs in films made by women that feature strong female leads, and that is the faithful portrayal of issues that women often have to face when breaking away from traditional roles. By FF2 Associate Farah Elattar This concept is brilliantly portrayed in Radioactive (Dir. Marjane Satrapi, 2019), and The Dancer (Dir. Stephanie […]

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“Judy & Punch” a comedy, horror, and satire in one

In a town ruled by ignorance and public stonings, a married couple works to bring their locally successful puppet show to the big stage. When the husband’s blinding ambition leads to tragedy, the wife seeks vengeance. Horror, comedy, and satire prove an interesting and entertaining – though not always compelling – mix in Mirrah Foulkes’ […]

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Radioactive: a celebration of Marie Curie’s life and discoveries

A film by Marjane Satrapi, Radioactive presents itself as a biopic with a twist. On top of capturing the complicated life of Marie Curie, it successfully examines the hardships that come with being a female scientist in early 1900s France. (FEA 4/5) Review by FF2 associate Farah Elattar Satrapi sets the scene by portraying “Maria […]

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Mothers and daughters of “The Joy Luck Club” share their immigrant stories

Based on a novel written by Amy Tan, the 1993 film The Joy Luck Club follows women of four Chinese immigrant families who share their stories about life and hardship. Things don’t come easily to them. (SYJ: 4/5)

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‘Banana Split’ is slickly aesthetic and surprisingly heartfelt

The slickly aesthetic and surprisingly heartfelt Banana Split is a stellar follow-up to writer, director, and actress Hannah Marks’s first feature After Everything. It has a lot to say about love, friendship, and coming of age, and comes in a snarky but bubblegum-pop package. (GPG: 5/5). Review by Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto The summer before […]

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The story of the ‘Lost Girls’ is unveiled in an investigative mystery drama

Liz Garbus directs mystery drama Lost Girls based on real life stories surrounding the Long Island Serial Killer case. The Netflix production is a dark story of loss and biased investigations of multiple unsolved disappearances and murders. Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan stars as a determined mother whose mind is set on finding her mysteriously missing daughter. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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A community of ‘Military Wives’ sing in unity and support

Writers Rosanne Flynn and Rachel Tunnard work together with director Peter Cattaneo on British comedy feature Military Wives, available on VOD today. When war takes their partners away, a group of women find themselves searching for something to occupy their minds. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan, this is a film about the birth of a strong friendship between women of different backgrounds brought together by the act of singing. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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Refreshingly honest ‘Hooking Up’ is an atypical road trip rom-com

Brittany Snow and Sam Richardson star in the refreshing and unique romantic comedy Hooking Up, on digital and on demand March 20.  Darla (Snow) is a sex-crazed columnist for a fading magazine who has one last chance to prove her worth to her boss. When she meets Bailey (Richardson), a testicular cancer patient who has […]

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Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder give breakout performances in ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’

Eliza Hittman’s intimate, raw Never Rarely Sometimes Always follows 17-year-old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) as she ventures to New York City to get an abortion at 18 weeks pregnant. With the help of her trusted cousin (Talia Ryder), the two encounter physical and emotional obstacles in a city far from home. (4/5) Review by Vice President […]

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EXTRA ORDINARY (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Extra Ordinary, written by a team of writers including Maeve Higgins, is a story of exorcism and satanism with a comedic twist. The film is a parody on the typical ghost buster movie. (SYJ: ⅘)   Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Jin Extra Ordinary opens with a piece of old documentary footage from […]

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“A Fine Line” explores the difficulties female chefs face in a male-dominated industry

In her first documentary and film, director Joanna James explores the struggles of top female chefs and restaurant owners to gain recognition in an industry ruled by men. At the same time, she tells the story of her own mother, chef and restaurant owner Valerie James, and her life of hard work and perseverance. (RMM: […]

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‘Saint Frances’ both unapologetic and sweet with sensitive subject matter

Kelly O’Sullivan writes and stars in the personal, touching Saint Frances, the story of a 26-year-old nanny in an affluent Chicago neighborhood who lives with the physical and emotional aftermath of having an abortion – and the six-year-old friend that gets her through. (4/5) Review by Vice President and Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky Bridget […]

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Our beloved ‘Emma.’–the witty, and self-indulging matchmaker–is back in town

Autumn de Wilde directs her debut feature film Emma., in collaboration with writer Eleanor Catton. Anna Taylor-Joy stars as the playful, witty young heroine in this adaptation of the well-known Jane Austen classic of the same name. Believing she has a talent for matchmaking, Emma takes on the responsibility of navigating the complex relationships of the town. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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‘The Last Thing He Wanted’ lost in adaptation from book to screen

Anne Hathaway stars in the complicated, cluttered Netflix Original The Last Thing He Wanted from writer/director Dee Rees. Despite its aesthetically artistic lens, this adaptation from Joan Didion’s 1996 novel of the same name doesn’t quite translate to the screen. (BKP: 3.5/5) Review by Vice President and Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky With a talented […]

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RIDE YOUR WAVE (2019): Review by Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

A sad tale of delusion with a perky animated style, Ride Your Wave is a romantic tragedy about surfing. Only anime, and screenwriter Reiko Yoshida, could have created such a thing. The film is a well-structured cautionary tale about grief, with a surprising amount of depth for its short length. (GPG: 4/5) Review by Contributing […]

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‘Fantasy Island’ Reimagines the 1970’s TV Series

 Fantasy Island is a horror twist on the hit 1970’s TV show. While this is a creative and intriguing concept, the film didn’t quite manage to streamline itself into a properly horrific piece of cinema, as its new genre had promised (JRL: 2 / 5) Review by FF2 Media Intern Julia Lasker As the film […]

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Olympic Dreams (2020): Review by Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

While the age difference is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, this Nick Kroll fronted rom-com set at the 2018 Olympics gives us a meditative spin on the genre. Writer and actress Alexi Pappas gives us a painfully believable performance of a stressed-out millennial still figuring herself out. (GPG: 3/5). Review by Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto […]

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Neeson, Manville elevate gut-wrenching cancer story ‘Ordinary Love’

Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville star in this gut-wrenching story of resilience. When Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer, she relies on the support of her husband to get through the year-long journey of scans, surgeries and chemotherapy. While the straightforward drama is overly bleak at times, lacking a plot point or two to keep […]

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